Bird flu strikes poultry in Tibet, man dies in Viet Nam

Chinese authorities have confirmed another bird flu outbreak in Tibet this year, the country's second in 2008.

This latest outbreak in poultry comes after China's 18th confirmed human bird flu fatality where a 22 year old man from central Hunan province became the latest victim of the deadly virus on January 24th.

According to China's agriculture ministry 132 poultry have died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in a village outside the regional capital Lhasa.

Another 7,700 birds have been slaughtered in order to bring the outbreak under control.

Around 1,000 birds died and 13,000 were slaughtered during the earlier outbreak in January in Gongga county, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Lhasa.

Chinese authorities say the Tibetan outbreak started on 6th February, in a small community and tests have proved positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

According to the World Health Organisation the H5N1 virus has killed 227 people and decimated poultry flocks worldwide since 2003.

Experts fear the virus will eventually mutate into a form that is much more easily transmissible between humans, triggering a global pandemic with the potential to kill millions.

China has to date reported 27 confirmed cases of bird flu since 2003, including the 18 deaths.

Viet Nam's Ministry of Health also confirmed last week, that a 40 year old man from Gia Loc district, Hai Duong province, died of H5N1 bird flu on 13th February after being taken into hospital 5 days earlier.

The man developed symptoms on the 2nd of February and it has been confirmed that he had come into contact with sick and dead domestic birds before falling ill.

Local control measures have been put in place in the local area and anyone who came into contact with the man has been checked; authorities say there have been no reports of illness to date.

Viet Nam has reported 103 confirmed cases of H5N1 since 2003, of which 49 have been fatal, said the WHO.



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